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27 Aug 2017

A whinchat, a stork & a spotted flycatcher

Kingfisher on the jetty photographed by Anthony Plummer

Wildlife Sightings blog by WWT Arundel Reserve Manager Paul Stevens.

There were 22 sightings of kingfishers on Sunday morning from the Ramsar hide. Guide in the Hide David was able to identify that both a male and a female were fishing in the area all morning. Kingfishers have been showing on Wetlands Discovery as well with visitor Anthony Plummer getting a great pic of one perching on the boat jetty last Thursday.

Our volunteer guide David also spotted a greenshank from the Ramsar hide for about 10 minutes on Sunday morning. This medium sized wader with long green legs likely popped in on its way to winter in Africa. The trickle of martins and swallows heading south continues through the reserve with 70 swallows, 40 house martins and 7+ sand martins seen on Friday. On Sunday morning David sighted a few sand martins flying solo, saw a trio of house martins and 30 swallows.

The highlight of the week is the whinchat David spotted opposite the Ramsar hide on Sunday perching on the low scrub lining the path. Winchats have a strong eye stripe and orange breast. Smaller than a robin they are most likely to be seen in West Sussex during the autumn passage. David also saw a spotted flycatcher to the left of the Ramsar hide on Sunday.

David’s keen eye and spider knowledge also spotted a female marpissa mucosa perched on a post of the handrails to the Outlook In building. The females are 8-13 mm in size making it the largest jumping spider in Europe. Their front four legs are larger but these are for catching prey while the smaller four back legs do all the power jumping while they hunt and climb.

Corvids and raptors are showing well. A marsh harrier David describes as having a ‘fresh cream cap’ was seen above Arun River while a raven spotted being mobbed by crows on the Offham Hangar on Friday was flying up the Arun Valley on Sunday. There were nine buzzards and a red kite over the reserve on Friday and 5 plus buzzards seen on Saturday. A stork was seen over the reserve at 11 am on Sunday and reports were heard further up the valley in the afternoon.

Around the reserve there are good numbers of gadwall mixed with a few teal, wigeon and mandarin duck. Herons and little egrets are about as well. A lesser whitethroat and a mistle thrush were seen on the hangar as well.